Department of Transportation Secretary (DOTr), Arthur Tugade, has called for the formation of a technical working group (TWG) to discuss the many issues surrounding the use of two-wheeled motorcycles for public conveyance. The move is in response to the conflict surrounding the Temporary Restraining Order that prevents ride-hailing app, Angkas, from accepting passengers.
The TWG will be formed by officials from the DOTr, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulator Board (LTFRB), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), stakeholders such as Angkas, representatives from the senate, congress, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.
The TWG hopes to discuss the capabilities and limitations of a motorcycle and its operator as a public transport service. In addition, it hopes to determine the kind of motorcycle that should be granted a transport franchise, delving into details like engine capacity, travel speed, route encompassed by the franchise, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for operators as Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers. Finally, the TWG hopes to discuss the responsibilities and liabilities of the operator when it comes to the passenger in the event of an accident.
“Naiintindihan natin ang pagtangkilik ng ilan nating kababayan sa mga motorsiklo bilang public transport. Pero tandaan natin na may batas laban dito, at may TRO pa ang Korte Suprema. Ang batas ay batas, at hindi po mauuna ang ehekutibo sa paglabag nito. Pero nakikinig ang DOTr. Kaya kahit wala pang desisyon ang SC, bumubuo na tayo ng TWG para pag-aralan ang posibilidad na maging public transport ang mga motorsiklo, (We understand why motorcycles have been patronized by the public as a means of transport. Let’s remember that there is a law against it and a TRO from the Surpreme Court (SC). The law is the law and the Executive branch cannot defy it. Yet the DOTr is listening too. And so, even if the SC has no decision yet, we are forming a TWG to study the possibility of legalizing motorcycles as PUVs.)” said Secretary Tugade.
Last December 5, the SC issued a TRO against the preliminary injunction of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213 that has allowed Angkas to operate and accept passengers.
The DOTr and its concerned agencies have since apprehended Angkas partner-riders caught accepting passengers. The agency has cited Republic Act No. 4136, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which states that two-wheeled motorcycles cannot be used for public conveyance.
“Pag-usapan natin kung ano ang mga solusyong maaaring ihain. Ano ang panuntunan? Lahat ba ng klase ng motorsiklo ay papayagan? Ano ang minimum Papayagan ba ito sa lahat ng kalsada, o lilimitahan lang natin sa mga secondary road o mga lugar na hindi gaanong dinadaanan ng malalaking sasakyan gaya ng bus o truck? (Let’s talk about solutions. What should be the standards? What kinds of motorcycles should be allowed? What roads should they be allowed to operate in, or do we restrict them to secondary roads or roads not traveled by large vehicles, like trucks or buses?,” Tugade said.
“Isang aspeto rin ang kaligtasan. Paano natin masisiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga pasahero? Kung malagay sa aksidente ang motorsiklo habang may sakay, sino ang sasagot sa lahat ng gastusin? Kung maaksidente pati ang driver, ano ang pananagutan ng may-ari? Ang mga detalyeng ito, kailangang masusing mapag-aralan, (Another aspect is safety. How can we be sure the passengers are safe? If there is an accident with a passenger, who will pay for the damages? If even the operator is injured, who will be held liable? These details need to be discussed and studied thoroughly),” added the Secretary.